Today was my birthday. We went out of town to celebrate and spent a couple of days at the Spider Lake Lodge outside of Hayward, WI. It's a really cool lodge. The rooms are just average but the lodge itself really looks like a "northwoods lodge". We hoped to XC ski and snowshoe but the lack of any good snow left us playing Boggle and seeing the Lemony Snicket movie.
I got a bunch of fun stuff for my birthday but most notable was a telescope that Tammy gave me. When I was a kid I used to go to the college in Minot and look through the telescope in the obersavotory. I was definitely one of those very geeky "space" kids. I hadn't really looked at telescopes for years and then someone mentioned some of the new telescopes and how easy they are to use. I picked up a copy of Sky & Telescope and was amazed at how advanced telescopes have gotten.
Tammy got me the Meade LX200GPS 8" telescope. It's an amazing device just to open up and spin around. The controls are so precise and the lenses and mirrors are amazing. I haven't had the opportunity to use it for actual stargazing but hope to in the next week or two. I eventually would like to play with some astrophotography but that will require some more knowledge before diving in. Tammy also ordered the model with UHTC, which stands for Ultra-High Transmission Coating and gives about a 20% increase in brightness.
Anyway, I've picked up every astronomy magazine I could find and a couple of books and am trying to figure this all out. I can't wait to check out Saturn this month while it is opposition to the Earth.
Don't I have a pretty amazing wife!? Lucky me. :-)